Opportunities to Comment on NEON

Planning for the NSF-funded National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is on a fast track. A distinguished body of scientists, engineers, and educators has been selected to serve on the committees that will shape the blueprint for NEON’s implementation. Members of the biological community will have a number of opportunities to review and comment on draft materials as the NEON Design Consortium produces documents early in 2005.

In September 2004, AIBS finalized a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation to develop a detailed NEON planning document by June 2006. The NEON Design Consortium — with more than 150 committee and subcommittee members — formally begins its work with meetings in January, March, and June of 2005. The committee reports will identify which continental-scale science questions NEON will address, what kinds of sensor technology and cyberinfrastructure will be required, and how to realize NEON’s potential for educating new generations of scientists.

The eight Subcommittees of the Science and Human Dimensions Committee will focus on invasive species, land use, biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, climate change, infectious disease, hydrology, and emerging issues. Additional subcommittees will develop NEON’s approaches to research infrastructure, IT and communication, and sensors and sensor networks. Education subcommittees will address NEON opportunities for K-12, the graduate and postdoctoral level, and informal education.

Members of the bioscience community can find the latest news about NEON at www.neoninc.org, including a full roster of NEON’s Design Consortium members. Draft documents will be posted online for peer review shortly after each of the three meetings scheduled in 2005: January 4-6, March 15-17, and June 7-9.